Rebolusyon! Labanan ang Tax on Text!

Joey de Venecia IIIMga kapatid, alam ninyo bang me panukalang batas ngayon itong si Speaker Prospero Nograles pati na itong si Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez na patawan ng buwis ang bawat text natin? Itong dalawang karakter na ito, na nagpasasa sa ating mga pera dun sa multi-milyong hapunan sa Washington at New York ay nagpapanukala ng isang batas na tiyak na lulusaw na naman sa pinaghirapan nating pera.

Para kay Joey de Venecia III, isang businessman at Susan “Toots” Ople, tagapagtaguyod ng mga kapakanan ng mga Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), kalabisan na ito at harapang nakawan at kagahaman.

Ayon sa House-approved measure papatawan ng  five centavo excise tax ang bawat text, picture, video or audio clip sent through mobile phones is uncalled for.

“While proponents of the bill such as Speaker Prospero Nograles say the tax will not be passed on to consumers, it does not provide such a guarantee,” according to de Venecia. “Why pass this burden on to consumers? Why not just improve tax collection efforts and eradicate graft and corruption in government?” he asked.

House Bill 6625 removes the “no pass on provision” of the original bill authored by Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson. This means that the telecoms companies would be allowed to pass on to consumers the new tax. The government, meanwhile, is expected to add an additional P20 billion to P36 billion to its coffers. The Philippines is known as the texting capital of the world owing to the Filipinos’ inherent need to constantly keep in touch with their friends and loved ones.

Between the three major players Globe, Smart and Sun, nearly 40 million cellphone owners nationwide send 2 billion text messages a day. “Texting is a small luxury enjoyed by most Filipinos. The tax approved by the House majority will affect nearly all Filipinos,” de Venecia said.

Additional taxes is not the solution to the country’s very serious problem with graft and corruption, he added. The Geneva-based World Economic Forum very recently said that the country’s perennial problems of corruption, inefficient government bureaucracy and inadequate infrastructure were the main reasons given for the further decline in the country’s competitiveness ranking. This is what the government should address, said de Venecia. Nograles errs when he says the telecoms companies can easily bear the tax burden since the actual cost of short messaging service is very low, according to de Venecia. Capital expenditures of the telcos is in the billions and is constant in order to keep up with constantly evolving technologies, he added. IT-based businessman de Venecia is a pioneer of broadband technology in Asia and helped establish the Philippine call center industry. He became a national figure when he acted as whistleblower of the now infamous ZTE-national broadband network scam whereby an inferior P16-billion broadband network would have been installed with billions of pesos in kickbacks going to the pockets of powerful figures in the Arroyo administration.

susantootsopleSusan “Toots” Ople, whatever fiscal reforms should wait until 2010 and should be of the national vision and economic strategy of the next administration. Para kay Ate Toots, kailangang palakasin muna ng pamahalaan ang tax collection at huwag ipasa sa sambayanan ang kakulangan nito sa koleksyon..

“Ilang milyong OFW ang maapektuhan sa batas na ito na wala namang pupuntahan kundi sa korupsyon.” ayon kay Ople.

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